When I was 21, I spent a fall weekend babysitting for a set of adorable twins. We occupied ourselves during the day by taking long walks around the sleepy neighborhood where they lived, collecting leaves and pointing out pumpkins. We made festive snacks and the girls busied themselves with elaborate games of make-believe. On the first evening that I was there, after I tucked the girls into their tiny matching beds, I snuck back downstairs to tidy up from our day. With a box of blocks in my hand I reached for a closet door and as it swung open, I remember letting out an audible gasp. Stacked neatly onto shelves, or hung from hooks, or tucked into boxes labeled in the neat sans-serif of a newfangled label maker, every single thing in the closet was in impecable order. Nothing was thrown in haphazardly, there was no jumble of cords, no avalanche of stuffed animals, no basket overflowing with toys. It was pure closet perfection. While I haven’t quite gotten to the point of investing in a label maker, ten years later I still fully appreciate the appeal of a closet that looks nearly as nice opened as it does closed. In our apartment, James and I share a closet. Our closet stays neat most of the time, mostly because there’s not an over-abundance of clothes crammed into it. But as if sharing a closet with your husband wasn’t enough, we have to make like many city dwellers and also share the space with our vacuum cleaner, ironing board, photo equipment, assorted cleaning supplies, an army of canvas totes, and other things that sometimes get in the way while reaching for a sweater.
To start the new year just a step ahead of fishing for the baby carrier in a frenzied dash out the door, I did a very mini reorganizing of our closet and spruced it up with a useful thing or two: a basket large enough to hide the baby carrier, diaper bag, and stroller rain cover; an additional set of wooden hangers for rounding out our collection; a shoe box to house James’s fancypants wedding shoes; a garment bag to protect our other fancy clothes; a few wire baskets for wrangling odds and ends; and a wooden ironing board to replace our incredibly sqeaky metal one (I’m tempted to keep this one displayed because it’s just so pretty). I concentrated on only adding things that could be repurposed elsewhere, or upgrading things that I knew I couldn’t do away with entirely (Goodbye, battered cardboard shoe box. Hello, canvas). And while it might not elicit audible gasps, now everything in our closet has a place of its own.
For a few more of my tips on keeping multi-functional closet organized, hop over to West Elm’s blog, Front + Main.
A huge thank you to West Elm for helping me to freshen up the place.